Scientist I / II - NK Binder Development

Nkarta Inc
South San Francisco, CA, United States
Nov 14, 2020
Biotech Bay
Required Education
Position Type
Full time
Scientist I / II - NK Binder Development

Founded at the birthplace of biotechnology, Nkarta's mission is to discover, develop and deliver novel off-the-shelf (e.g. allogeneic) natural killer (NK) cell therapies that profoundly impact patients' outcomes and survival . The company is based on the proprietary, robust and well-characterized NK cell expansion technology pioneered by Dr. Dario Campana. Nkarta is focused on leveraging the inherent power of NK cells to identify and kill abnormal cells and recruit adaptive immune effectors to generate responses that are deep and durable.

Nkarta combines its NK cell expansion and cryopreservation platform with proprietary cell engineering technologies to generate an abundant supply of NK cells, engineer enhanced NK cell recognition of tumor targets, and improve persistence for sustained activity in the body for the treatment of cancer.

Founded in 2015, Nkarta became a public company (Nasdaq symbol NKTX) in 2020. Our development pipeline of engineered NK cell therapy candidates consists of two co-lead programs, NKX101 and NKX019. The IND for NKX101 for the treatment of relapsed or refractory AML and higher-risk MDS was accepted by the FDA in July 2020. We expect to begin dosing patients in this study by the end of 2020. As we broaden the development of NKX101, we also plan to initiate studies in solid tumors. Our second co-lead program, NKX019, is designed to target B cell lymphomas. We plan to file our IND for NKX019 with the FDA in early 2021. In addition, we recently completed the construction of a GMP compliant clinical manufacturing facility in our South San Francisco location designed to produce viral vector and supply our initial clinical trials.

Position Title Scientist I / II - NK Binder Development

Location South San Francisco, CA

Reports to Staff Scientist

Position Summary

Nkarta is seeking a highly motivated, results oriented, and collaborative Scientist to join our growing NK Binder Development R&D team. The successful candidate is expected to lead efforts to generate novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) binders for various targets. This role is ideal for the innovative scientist who is driven and passionate about cell therapy in a fast-paced, collaborative environment.

Key Responsibilities
• Supports the early discovery efforts to generate a broad panel of CAR binders by implementing various antibody discovery approaches not limited to innovative immunization, selection, and single B cell cloning.
• Uses background knowledge and performs research with other team members and cross group collaboration developing more potent NK therapies for solid tumors and hematological malignancies.
• Works closely with downstream NK Biology team to identify and implement relevant screening processes for efficient CAR binder lead identification for both validation and therapeutics targets.

Position Requirements

• Experience with primary cell culture and hybridoma.

• Highly organized problem-solver able to clearly communicate their findings to internal multi-disciplinary teams and senior R&D management.

• Expertise in laboratory techniques including cytokine analysis, cytotoxicity assays, and the ability to adopt new laboratory skills.

• Ability to work independently and to thrive in a fast-paced, team-oriented environment with colleagues from diverse disciplines.

• Ability to think critically and creatively, and to propose new experimental analyses to generate potent NK product.

• Data analysis using Prism, Excel, FlowJo etc. The ability to rapidly understand and learn new software systems that aid in biological analysis.

• Self-motivated with a dedicated work ethic, ability to work and manage multiple projects concurrently.

• Strong verbal and written skills including drafting SOPs and documentation.

• Embodies the company culture of empowerment, diversity, and inclusion.


• Previous experience with virus production/viral transduction and nucleofection of primary lymphocytes.

• Experience with the Berkeley Lights Beacon instrument platform for antibody discovery capabilities to strategize on upstream and/or downstream workflows to support identification of binders with desired properties through a single B cell cloning.

• Experience in flow-based multiparametric cell screening assays for cell surface binding and activation for binder hit selection. Strong experience in flow data analysis using BD FACSDiva systems and FlowJo.

• Experience in antibody structure function and engineering including humanization, affinity maturation for further optimization of biophysical and developability properties for lead selection.

• Strong background in immunology, with knowledge of NK cell biology, and experience working with primary NK or T cell.

Education / Background

• PhD in immunology, or related biological field with 0-2 years industry experience

Work Environment / Physical Demands

This position requires the ability to occasionally lift and/or move up to 25 pounds. Specific vision abilities for this job include close vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus. The common requirements of an office environment (computers, computer screens, workstations, etc.) apply when not working in or around the laboratory environment. Car and airplane travel might be requirement of this role.

About Nkarta

The 50+ team members at our South San Francisco, California headquartered location describe working at Nkarta, along with opportunities for improvement, in some of the following ways:

"Work is interesting - lots of projects in the pipeline (so I don't have to worry about the one project failing). Leadership is open, straight forward."

"Smart, capable, nice people. People I work with day to day are enjoyable."


"I like that the company is open minded with a (people) -(looking for) a set of skills that can grow (as opposed to thinking you have to have exactly what's in a job spec now) Things that broaden their (employees) skills and growth."

"Like any startup there are fires to put out; feel confident we have the people to control those fires."

"Diverse people from different backgrounds."

To learn more about our work at Nkarta and the career opportunities that will drive us forward to serve patients, please visit the company's website at